Health Rack

Does Omega-3 Really Cause Prostate Cancer

The Other Side of the Story


Preston, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/16/2013 -- A recent paper published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has advocated that men with high blood concentrations of long-chain ?-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids could predispose men to an increase risk of develop prostate cancer. It was proposed that fatty acids are involved with prostate tumorigenesis, this literally refers to the creation of cancer and is the mechanism by which normal cells are transformed into cancer cells which take place at a hormonal, genetic and epigenetic level.

However, before people throw out their Omega-3 capsules at a result, it is important to take a step back and look at what the study has actually reported and the methods used. It has already developed wide-spread criticism for the way it was conducted and its radical conclusion that nutritional supplements have been proven as being harmful. For the above reason, no causal link can be substantiated for it was purely of observational nature. The study used a group of men who had already developed prostate cancer, no direction was given as to whether these men had preliminary high levels of fatty acids in their blood stream prior to the cancer development. Therefore, there is no way of saying that this is a cause and effect relationship, but merely an association between the two as stipulated by Dr Michèle Sadler who is the scientific advisor to the Health Food Manufacturers Association.

Thus, if the research were actually true we would see large levels of prostate cancer developing in countries with high seafood consumption such as in Japan and Scandinavia, whilst a low consumption would act as a protective mechanism. However, this is not the case as all and these diets have been found to be highly beneficial amongst its population. In fact, previous research has shown either a 61% decrease or no link at all to prostate cancer with a high fish diet.

The study itself was very quick to blame the health supplement industry, and after scrutinising the paper, I could find no evidence that the cancer sufferers actually took fish oil dietary supplements. In addition to this, when looking at the results achieved, there are other parts of the study which begin to stand out. Other independent variables such as smoking and drinking intake does not quite seem to add up. For example, it dictates that smokers developed a less aggressive form of cancer than non-smokers, and individuals who drank one or less alcoholic beverages on regular occasion were put at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. However, I can see no evidence anywhere which stipulates that we would be smoking and drinking in order to avoid developing cancer. Thus suggesting that the associations uncovered regarding some variables relation to cancer development should not be taken as concrete evidence.

The margins for this effect also appear rather small as the blood concentrations of phospholipids were stated as being 4.66% in the cancer group and 4.48% in the control group. Therefore, the basis for developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer is resting on a 0.2% difference in phospholipids levels. This is of particular interest, especially as both of these levels fall within the normal levels of fatty acid concentrations making the basis of a 71% increase in aggressive prostate cancer appear rather unsubstantiated.

Several big names in the area have stood up against this publication, questioning how it was even allowed to go to print. This article is not here to say whether taking Omega-3 supplements will lead to the development of prostate cancer or not. It is simply here to provide you with the other side of the story. A lot of research is published by scientists and then reported to the public as being concrete. However, just because it published in an academic journal does not mean it needs to be taken at face-value. Just as things are construed in media in order to create a moral panic, so too are scientists guilty of exaggerating the significance of their results. If you decide to continue taking supplements, then you can find high quality Omega-3 Fish Oil capsules available on our website. Alternatively, we have a Flaxseed Oil capsule substitute which has high quantities of omega-3 but without the fish oil.